Recently, evidence has been obtained that naturally occurring rhizobia, isolated from the nodules of non-legume Parasponia species and from some tropical legumes, are able to enter the roots of rice, wheat and maize at emerging lateral roots by crack entry. We have now investigated whether Azorhizobium caulinodans strain ORS571, which induces root and stem nodules on the tropical legume Sesbania rostrata as a result of crack entry invasion of emerging lateral roots, might also enter rice and wheat by a similar route. Following inoculation with ORS571 carrying a lacZ reporter gene, azorhizobia were observed microscopically within the cracks associated with emerging lateral roots of rice and wheat. A high proportion of inoculated rice and wheat plants had colonized lateral root cracks. The flavanone naringenin at 10 and 10 M stimulated significantly the colonization of lateral root cracks and also intercellular colonization of wheat roots. Naringenin does not appear to be acting as a carbon source and may act as a signal molecule for intercellular colonization of rice and wheat by ORS571 by a mechanism which is nod gene-independent, unlike nodule formation in Sesbania rostrata. The opportunity now arises to compare and to contrast the ability of Azorhizobium caulinodans with that of other rhizobia, such as Parasponia rhizobia, to intercellularly colonize the roots of non-legume crops.
Webster, G.; Gough, C.; Vasse, J.; Batchelor, C.A.; O’Callaghan, K.J.; Kothari, S.L.; Davey, M.R.; Denarie, J.; Cocking, E.C. Interactions of rhizobia with rice and wheat. Plant and Soil (1997) 194 (1/2) 115-122. [DOI: 10.1023/A:1004283819084]